Friday, October 28, 2011

Every You, Every Me by David Leviathan YP FIC LEVIATHAN

“A picture is worth a thousand lies.”

Evan has a secret.  He loved Ariel even though she was with Jack.  Now Ariel is gone and all Jack and Evan have is each other and their memories.  But someone else has a secret.  Pictures start coming to Evan, pictures no one should have been able to take.  Pictures that unearth memories Evan wants to stay buried.  Reality, memory, lies, and truth are all part of the same picture.

This books is unabashedly Emo truly original.  We get to see all the photos Evan is sent and that adds a lot of impact to this book.  The photographs were sent to the author and he wrote his chapters as they came in, so Evan’s confusion and slow realization feels real. The narrator’s use of strikethrough to illustrate his fractured occasionally whiny thoughts really works to get you inside his head and see how his world is slowly unraveling.  This is a very quick read with diary style entries that are brief and many pages that have a single photo or just a few lines of text.  This makes this an easy nook to fly through to solve the mystery.  The books strange design and narration style are its greatest strength and weakness.  This really feels like a love it or hate it title, which I always love.  It’s quirky, original, and a great look at a single point of view.  It really tackles some big ideas about how we are all stuck inside our own versions of how we see reality and how that can affect us.  I recommend it to anyone that wants something that will challenge them and make them think.

This Girl is Different by J J Johnson YP FIC JOHNSON

Evensong Sparkling Morningdew did not have the average upbringing as her name so cleary attests.  However, home schooled Evie has decided to join the crows and go to a REAL school for her senior year, but high school can be a minefield, a battlefield, or all sorts of other bad fields.  Not only are the rigid structure and the seemingly arbitrary rules maddening, but when she speaks out she ignites a giant controversy.  When she decides to make big changes in the system she starts unlocking secrets and truths she isn’t ready to face.  Revolution is harder than it looks!

This book shines because Evie is believably intelligent and mixes her expansive knowledge about academic pursuits with a total naiveté about how the world works. Her narration is always interesting and funny and pushes the story forward at a brisk pace. There are a few sort of cliché characters, but some characters really work.  I really respected that Johnson has the adults in the books be a mixture of good and bad in a believable way.  After all, usually even pretty lame schools have some good and bad in the staff.  It made the story better and richer than had Evie been up against all villains with the adults. I thought the ending verged towards an almost Hollywood happy ending, which is surprising because the book is mainly realistic throughout.  However, it wasn’t so unbelievable that I threw my book down in disgust, vowing never to read it again.  In fact, some people will probably like it a lot.  Besides, the rest of the book is so good I doubt most people will care at all.  Looking for something ‘different’ *?  This is your book!

*Sorry, I am biologically unable to resist terrible puns.

Silhouetted by the Blue by Traci L. Jones YP FIC JONES

Serena Shaw is finally in the spotlight, but her life behind the scenes threatens to eclipse the on stage drama.  Serena got the lead of her school’s version of The Wiz and she should be happy, but she has to raise her own family since her mom died and her Dad came down with the blue.  Just when she thinks she can’t possibly handle all the responsibilities in her life she starts to learn that if she trusts other people she doesn’t always have to.

This is a short and bittersweet tale of personal growth and overcoming serious problems, but never feels like a Problem Novel.  This is due to Traci L Jones’ excellent understanding of how to sketch characters with just the right few chosen words. Both Serena and her brother Henry are really well realized characters. I liked Serena a lot even though she was often less than likable.  People going through serious hardship usually aren’t all that easy to get along with and her move towards opening up felt real, natural, and earned.  The book doesn’t give a rosy all-too-perfect ending and strikes the right balance of realism and hope.  My only complaints are because the book is so short some plot elements felt rushed and some secondary characters seem shallow.  A good read for people that like realistic fiction and want a quick read.

A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan YP FIC SHEEHAN

Rosalinda Fitzroy is woken from a 62 year slumber by a kiss, but the world she knew is completely changed.  She missed the Dark Times that killed millions and is a world completely changed by technology and aliens walk amongst us.  Maybe the greatest change is that her parents are dead and her inheritance includes control over an interplanetary empire making her the most powerful person on the planet, but Rose just wants to finish high school.  All this is becomes even more difficult when a plastic robot assassin comes to kill her, forcing her to face her past once and for all.

This is a crazy blend of fairy tale, post-dystopia (because the future Rose wakes up in is AFTER the dystopia), and family drama.  What’s crazier is that it all mixes really well.  Rose is beaten down, defeated, self loathing, and terrified.  This makes it hard to like her or want to follow her tale, but if you stick with her you won’t regret it.  As the story progresses and we learn her past, her character makes a lot more sense and becomes a lot more sympathetic. What works best is that Sheehan has built a very interesting future world with danger, romance, and amazing technology, but it’s the human relationships that end up being the most interesting. This is a very promising first novel and I’d love to see what other stories Sheehan has in her.

Superman: The Black Ring by Paul Cornell Art by Pete Woods YP FIC CORNELL

Lex Luthor tasted the ultimate power during Blackest Night (evil black Power rings raised people from the dead and made them evil) when he gained the power of the Orange Lantern.  Now Luthor searches for the remnants of the Black Rings source of power to shape the destiny of the universe.

Luthor is a perfect choice for a villain based comic, because he sees himself as Earth’s greatest hero.  Lex believes he has to save humanity form aliens and other super powered beings.  The fact that he is a cold blooded mass murder just means he’s efficient, right? this comic really has fun with Luthor and has him at his egotistical best.  It’s fun following him on his zany adventures with his Robot Lois Lane companion.  He fights some of DC’s zanier characters like a mind controlling worm, a mind controlling and brain eating gorilla, and he even meets Death the teenage girl (made famous in DC’s arty Vertigo line of comics).  All this makes for great silly fun and a welcome dose of weirdness that sets it apart from your average superhero yarn.  I do wish this volume didn’t end on a cliff hanger, but that is part and parcel for comic book collections these days, so I think most readers are used to it by now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Teens' Top Ten for 2011

A whopping 10,000 votes from teens poured in between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15 in answer to the question "What's your favorite book?" asked by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). YALSA made the big announcement of the top 10 titles last Monday in conjunction with Teen Read Week, which ran from Oct. 16-22.

Here's the list, along with their call numbers here are Moore Memorial Public Library:

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

The year is 1878. Searching for her missing brother, sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray descends into London's dark supernatural underworld and finds herself up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork demons, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her Shadowhunter allies can stop them.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking trilogy promises to be one of the most talked-about books of the year. Start with the first book, The Hunger Games (YP FIC COLLINS).

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Despite starting a relationship with Patch, her guardian angel (whose title is the only angelic thing about him), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking good for Nora Grey. Aside from fearing her boyfriend is interested in her nemesis, Nora is haunted by images of her father and becomes obsessed with understanding his disappearance. As Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, she begins to wonder whether her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it. And since Patch isn't answering her questions, Nora has to start finding the answers on her own. But does she really want to know the truth — or will her desire for Patch outweigh any possible peace she could find?

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
YP FIC LORE; the movie's at DVD I

Nine alien teenagers are hiding on Earth. Three are dead. Number Four is next.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she finally discovers why. For when her half-brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she had never imagined — the world of Faery.

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate … until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson

In the seventh book in the bestselling series, evil scientists are still trying to convince Max that she needs to save the world, this time by providing the genetic link in speeding up the pace of evolution. Worse, they're trying to convince her that her perfect mate is Dylan, the newest addition to the flock. The problem is that, despite herself, Max is starting to believe it. Fang travels the country collecting his own gang of evolved humans, but the two separate flocks must unite to defeat a frightening doomsday cult whose motto is Save the Planet: Kill the Humans. And this time, the true heroine, for once, might just be little Angel.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie's always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours. But Evie's about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. So much for normal.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

After she dies in a car crash, teenaged Samantha relives the day of her death over and over again until, on the seventh day, she finally discovers a way to save herself.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything — including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?